September 26, 2013
It was a big night for music lovers in Charlottesville Thursday as two big name acts came to town.
Grammy Award-winning indie pop band fun. took over the nTelos Wireless Pavilion for a sold-out show, while country star Blake Shelton drew a crowd to the John Paul Jones Arena.
fun. fans Allyson Barkley and Hannah Epstein bought their tickets to the sold-out show in March.
"We're really excited," said Epstein. "We made T-shirts for it."
Arguably the most excited fans were three friends at the front of the line -- Greene County residents Katie Lester, Brooke Tyburski and Annie Zheng.
The girls were first to arrive to the venue at 7 a.m.
"We really, really like this band. We just wanted to be in front to get as close to them as we could," said Tyburski. "It'll all be worth it, hopefully."
Thursday night's show was Charlottesville resident Sabrina Palomares' first concert.
"They're just my favorite band right now and I just love them," said Palomares.
Despite fun.'s growing popularity, fans say they are still getting an intimate experience in Charlottesville.
"They're a Grammy-winning band and they're coming to a small venue like this," said one fan.
Across town, country crooner Blake Shelton filled the John Paul Jones Arena.
"It's the girls night out from Richmond, so we thought we'd spend the night here," said a fan. "Charlottesville's a great venue for concerts and that's why we come here."
A diverse crowd of all ages -- many traveling from out of town -- streamed into the arena for the show.
Fan Karen Thomas came from Morgantown, West Virginia.
"It's just a multitude [of people]. I mean, there's young kids, there's older people, there's teenage girls, there's just everybody. There's men -- middle-aged men, young guys -- just a multitude," said Thomas.
It was Thomas' first time seeing Shelton live, but she was confident she knew what she was in for.
"He's going to make people laugh. He's going to be very entertaining. He's going to be sweet. He's going to be funny. He's going to be rotten," she said with a smile.